China reports first successful transplantation of multi-gene-edited pig kidney into a human
Published: Apr 08, 2024 11:20 PM
Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

Doctors from a Xi'an hospital performed xenotransplantation surgery on March 25, in which the kidney of a multi-gene-edited pig was transplanted into a brain-dead human. The kidney is still functioning well 13 days later, Beijing-based Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday.

Qin Weijun, head of urology at Xijing Hospital of the Air Force Medical University in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, told the newspaper that his surgical team transplanted the gene-edited pig kidney into the brain-dead recipient's body.

As of Sunday, the transplanted kidney had been functioning for 13 days, and was working well in the recipient's body, producing urine normally, Qin said.

According to Science and Technology Daily, this is another milestone breakthrough in the field of xenotransplantation for Qin's hospital, after it made the world's first xenogenetic liver transplantation from a multi-gene-edited pig into a brain-dead recipient.

The surgical plan was created and approved by various academic and ethics committees, and carried out strictly in accordance with relevant national regulations. The family of the patient gave consent for the research to contribute to medical advancement, according to media reports.

With the advancement of gene editing technology, pigs as donors have gradually emerged as one of the preferred candidates for human xenotransplantation due to their organ tissue structure, physiological function, and size being akin to human organs, coupled with their distant relation to humans, which can help evade rejection responses.

Editing genes of pig cells is a relatively mature technology, and pigs have strong reproductive capabilities and are easy to raise on a large scale. These factors make pigs the best choice for xenotransplantation donors under current technological conditions, Qin explained.

In recent years, with the in-depth development of gene editing technology and immunology, xenotransplantation research has dramatically progressed, and it may become an effective way to solve the organ shortage, Qin said.

Scientists said that the research represents a critical step toward the forefront of xenotransplantation in China, which will pave the way for clinical research and clinical application of xenotransplantation. It will also likely provide new options for patients with end-stage renal disease in the future.

Global Times